Streamer Ribbons & Scarves – A Rainbow of Fun!

rnbw

Put a scarf or ribbon in a child’s hand and movement automatically begins! Dance, leap, run, twirl, spin, gallop, jump, throw, catch – the active play it provides is never ending! I highly recommend that you have enough scarves or ribbons for each child to have one for each hand.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes:
Promotes cross-lateral movements (midline development)
Develops body and spatial awareness
Directionality
Laterality
Gross and fine motor coordination
Eye-hand coordination
Moderate to vigorous physical activity
Agility
Flexibility
Listening skills
Cooperative play
Creativity
Imagination

Movement Exploration and Creative Movement
Using one ribbon or scarf, move it…

  • Up and down
  • Side to side
  • In a circle
  • In a figure 8
  • Above your head
  • Below your knees
  • Between your legs
  • At your side
  • In front of you
  • Behind you
  • Like a broom (moving it side to side in front of body)
  • Like a fishing pole (casting or throwing it out in front of body)
  • Like a hammer (moving it up and down with quick wrist movements)
  • Like ocean waves (shaking it in front of body)
  • Like a rainbow (moving it in an arc from one side of body to the other
  • Like a river (dragging it across the floor or ground)
  • Like tree branches in a windstorm (hold it above the head and swaying from side to side)
  • Like a tornado (spinning around and raising and lowering it)

swish

Dance, Dance, Dance
Start the music and encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space. When the music stops, they are to freeze (stand motionless like a statue). When the music starts again, children resume dancing. Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly. They love the element of surprise! Music suggestions: “I Like To Move It” by Crazy Frog (fast dancing – suggest dancing using locomotor movements—jumping with two feet, hopping, jogging). “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland (slow dancing – suggest twirling, leaping, and floating to the music).

On Your Mark, Get Set, RUN!
With streamer ribbon or scarf in hand held high above head, have children run from one boundary to another. What child doesn’t like to run! They will ask to do it again and again. Music suggestion: “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s movie, “Pocahontas.”

Follow the Leader
Have children stand in a line one person behind the other. When the music starts, the child at the head of the line does a movement with the scarf or streamer and all children behind the leader will move their scarf in the same way as the leader (i.e., waving scarf overhead, jumping with the streamer, swinging arms back and forth with scarf, etc.) When the music stops, the child that was at the front of the line goes to the back of the line and the next child in line becomes the leader. The music starts again and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to be the leader. Music suggestion: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

 

Tails
Set up boundaries using ropes or cones in the available space. Each child tucks a streamer or scarf into their waistband behind their back. The ribbon is now their tail. The game starts when the music starts and the children run in the available space. The game is played like tag, but instead of tagging each other, children pull each others ribbon out of their waistbands and drop them to the ground. The child whose ribbon is pulled, picks up his streamer ribbon (tail), goes to “the tail repair area” (a designated spot, i.e., door, tree, etc.) to replace the tail in their waistband. Once the ribbon or scarf is secure in their waistband, the child returns to the game and resumes pulling tails (ribbons/scarves). Music suggestion: “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations

  • Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)
  • Streamer Scarves (SWISH)
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The Mirror Game!

sharron mirror game 1

Why It’s a Great Game!

Objectives & Learning Outcomes

Social Emotional Development:

  • Learning to cooperate
  • Accepting others’ ideas
  • Taking turns

Cognitive Development:

  • Replicating physically what the eyes see (developing visual sensitivity to change)
  • Developing focus, attention, and concentration
  • Learning about the concept of mirror reflection

Physical Development:

  • Practicing a variety of nonlocomotor movements
  • Developing spatial awareness (an awareness of space, relative distance, and relationships with space–experiencing personal space)

sharron mirror game 2

How to Play

Set Up and Materials

  • Available indoor or outdoor space
  • Children paired up and scattered in the space
  • Music
  • If desired, demonstrate the concept of reflection using a mirror

sharron mirror game 3

Directions

  1. Partners face each other at arm’s distance apart.
  2. Ask one child to be the “leader” and perform simple movements in place and his partner (the second child) to imitate the leader as a mirror reflection.  For example, if the leader  waves his right arm, the “mirror” waves his left arm in the same way, duplicating the movement as if he is looking into a mirror.
  3. Start the music–fast or slow.  The use of slow background music might help keep the partners moving slowly at first.
  4. Go from simple (only one body part moving) to complex (more than one body part moving at the same time).
  5. When the music stops, partners change roles, with the leader becoming the mirror and the mirror becoming the leader.

Suggestions & Variations

  • Children will mirror better if they watch each other’s eyes rather than extremities.
  • Ask the leader to move slowly enough so the mirror can follow.
  • Have the players do the activity while sitting.
  • Combine the activity with streamers or scarves.

sharron mirror game 4

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)
Juggling Scarves (JUGGLE)
Daily Fitness 4 CD Set (MOVEMENT)
Circle Time Fun Set – 3 CDs (CTIMEFUN)
Hamilton™ AM/FM CD Player (BOOMBOX)
Look At Me Mirror Kit (LOOKATME)

Pop-Up Puppets = Hands-On Learning!

I have been using Discount School Supply’s Counting Pop-Up Puppets with great success in introducing math and science concepts, supporting literacy skills and dramatic play, as well as promoting movement and physical activity.  This set of 5 hand puppets include: 1 flower in a flowerpot, 2 penguins on an iceberg, 3 birds in a nest, 4 ladybugs on a leaf, and 5 green and speckled frogs on an old brown log.  Each puppet has a flap with the numeral under it matching the number of items on the glove, i.e. the numeral 3 is under the flap of the 3 birds in the nest.  Using the 5 puppets helps you teach numbers 1-5, one-to-one correspondence, numeral recognition, ordering and matching, addition and subtraction. Reinforce ordinal numbers by asking the children which puppet is first, last; first, second, third.  Cardinality is addressed when the last number named is the quantity of object counted–tells “how many.”  Life science includes the study of plants and animals and the puppets show their habitats.  I’ve listed below an activity–song, dramatic play, dance, movement–to use with each puppet.  Let the children put the puppets on their hands and stage a play!  Puppets are a great tool to use in engaging children in the learning process.

 

The Little Flower (1 Flower)
In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep so deep,
A tiny flower
Lay fast asleep.
“Wake,” said the sunshine,
“And creep to the light.”
“Wake,” said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little flower heard
And it rose to see,
What the wonderful,
Outside world might be.

Act out this poem by having the children crouch down low to the floor and pretend they are seeds sleeping.  Then encourage them to stand up slowly until they are fully extended as the seeds sprouted (with the help of the sun and the rain) to become beautiful flowers.

Penguin Dance Chant by Jack Hartmann (2 Penguins)

Chorus:
Have you ever seen a penguin come to tea
When you look at me a penguin you will see
Penguins attention, penguins begin

Right flipper (move right arm up and down)
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper (move right and left arm up and down)
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head
Chorus
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head, Turn around
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head, Turn around, Penguin sound (caw, caw, caw, caw, caw)
(Chorus)

Penguins Attention!

Little Birdies Song (3 Blue Birds)
Way up in the sky (jump high)
The little birds fly (flap arms)
While down in the nest (form nest with arms)
The little birds rest (hands next to head like napping)
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)
With a wing on the left (fold left arm under)
And a wing on the right (fold right arm under)
The little birds sleep (hands next to head like napping)
All through the night.
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)
The BRIGHT SUN COMES UP! (yell it out and jump high with arms above head)
The dew goes away (hands like banging on a keyboard)
Good morning, good morning, the little birds say (raise arms up and down)

Four Red Ladybugs (4 Ladybugs)
Four red ladybugs sitting on a leaf.
They sit on a leaf on a tree.
And as they sit on that little green leaf,
There are so many friends to see!
With puppet on hand, point or “fly around” to all the children and say each one’s name…
“I see Jack, and Sophia, and Mark, and Sally…”
When the child hears their name they wave their hand in greeting.

Five Green and Speckled Frogs (5 Green Frogs)
Five green and speckled frogs,
Sitting on an old brown log,
Eating some most delicious bugs — YUM! YUM!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there are four green and speckled frogs. RIBBITT! RIBBITT! RIBBITT! RIBBITT!
Continue count down until…
Now there are no green and speckled frogs.

DIY Streamer Ribbons

I really enjoy presenting workshops where I not only share active play products but also play props or toys that can be made using recyclables.  A favorite product is the Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands from Discount School Supply®.  I prefer to use streamer ribbons that are not connected to a long stick.  The stick can be too cumbersome for little hands and a safety hazard as well.  Streamer Ribbons can be an easy “Do It Yourself” (DIY) project.  In previous posts I gave instructions on how to make a Floppy Flipper, Bread Bag Jump Rope, and a Six-Pack Net.  In this post, I will share with you on how to make a streamer ribbon using one plastic ring and some flagging tape.  Turn trash into toys for active play indoors or outdoors!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon

Materials:

  1. One plastic ring from six-pack plastic rings: a set of connected plastic rings that are used to carry six-packs of beverage cans or plastic bottles of soft drinks, aka ”carrier rings.”
  2. Colored flagging tape or surveyor’s tape: a non adhesive marking ribbon used for surveying, mapping, tagging, roping off areas or any other marking application. Available in a wide variety of bright and bold colors.

 Recycle & Play! Six-Pack Net & Bread Bag Jump Rope

Directions:

  1. Cut plastic rings apart, making sure to keep the rings intact.
  2. Cut 3-4 three foot pieces of different colored flagging tape and tie each piece to the plastic ring.
  3. Make two DIY Streamer Ribbons–one for each hand!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon Tape

Activities:

Streamer Ribbon Dancing
Start the music and bodies start moving.  With a streamer ribbon in their hand, encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space.  Suggest to the children that they move the streamer fast, slow, high, low, side to side, and all around.  Tell them that when the music stops, they are to stop and freeze (stand motionless like a statue).  When the music starts again, children resume dancing.  Ask children to follow along as you move the streamer across the front of your body, circle the streamer in front of your body like a Ferris wheel or circle it over your head like a helicopter blade.  Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly.  They love the element of surprise!  Use all different types of music: fast, slow, classical, rock, salsa.  When playing a slow song, suggest the children twirl, leap and float to the music.  Streamer Ribbon dancing promotes cross-lateral movements (crossing the midline) and develops body and space relationships, agility, flexibility, and listening skills.

Run Like the Wind
On your mark, get set, get ready, GO!  Have children run from one boundary to another with their Streamer Ribbon in their hand.  They will ask to do it again and again. Running is a locomotor skill and a form of vigorous physical activity that increases the heart rate while improving fitness.

Nature Play
Initiate creative movement using the Streamer Ribbon to imitate nature.  Ask the children to show you how they can make:

  • Ocean waves by shaking the ribbon in front of their body
  • A rainbow by moving the ribbon in an arc from one side of their body to the other
  • A river by dragging the ribbon across the floor or ground
  • Tree branches in a windstorm by holding the ribbon above their head and swaying from side to side
  • A tornado by spinning around and raising and lowering the ribbon

Tails
Set up boundaries using ropes or cones in the available space. Each child tucks a Streamer Ribbon into their waistband behind their back. The ribbon is now their tail. The game starts when the music starts and the children run in the available space.  The game is played like tag, but instead of tagging each other, children pull each others ribbons out of their waistbands and drop them on the ground.  The child whose ribbon is pulled picks up his streamer ribbon (tail), goes to “the tail repair area” (a designated spot, i.e., door, tree, etc.) to replace the ribbon in their waistband.  Once the ribbon is secure in their waistband, the child returns to the game and resumes pulling tails (ribbons).  The game ends when the music stops.  This group game promotes cooperative play, vigorous physical activity and lots of laughter!

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands – set of 6 (RNBW)
Colored Cones – set of 10 (SETC)
7′ Nylon Jump Ropes – set of 3 (RPST)

Infant and Toddler Movement Scarves

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, good toys for young children are ones that “match their stages of development and emerging abilities.” Toddler Movement Scarves (MOOVIT) are sized for the very young child (birth-36 months old). Each Toddler Movement Scarf consists of 3 colorful 10” square sheer scarves securely attached to a velcro wrist band. It’s an appropriate version of the “streamer ribbon” for the toddler set. Here are several fun activities that develop gross and fine motor skills, promote moderate to vigorous physical activity, and boost brain development. Get moovin’ and groovin’ with your little ones!

Floating Scarves Ages: birth-18 months
Lie the infant on its back and move the scarves above their face. Slowly move your hand up and down, in circles, and to the right and left. This activity provides practice with visual tracking.

Peek-A-Boo Ages: birth-18 months
Sit on the floor with the baby, and cover your face with the scarves. Take off the scarves and say, “Peek-a-boo.” Do this a few times before trying it on the baby. Then cover the baby’s head with the scarves. Stop immediately if the baby shows any sign of disliking this. Pull the scarves off and say “Peek-a-boo.” Along with being fun, peek-a-boo teaches babies the concept of object permanence, which occurs somewhere between the ages of 4 and 12 months. A baby learns that even if something is out of sight, it still exists. 

Peek-A-Toy Ages: 8-18 months
Sit on the floor with the baby. Cover a toy with the scarves and say, “Where’s the toy?” Let the baby find the toy by pulling off the scarves. This activity promotes eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Car Wash Ages: 8-18 months
Encourage gross motor development by attaching the scarves to a pole or chairs to create a tunnel or “car wash” for the baby to crawl through.

Movement Exploration Ages: 2 + years
Encourage children to use their imagination and be creative with the scarf. It can be a tail on a horse, a butterfly, a falling leaf, etc. Run with it and pretend it’s a kite. Look at the world through the tint of the fine mesh fabric. What do you see? What else can you do with your scarf? Movement exploration allows children to problem solve, explore spatial relationship skills, and use their large muscles.

Scarf Dancing Ages: 2 + years
Start the music and bodies start moving. With a scarf in their hand or around their wrist, encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space. Suggest to the children that they move the scarf fast, slow, high, low, side to side, and all around. Tell them that when the music stops, they are to stop and freeze (stand motionless like a statue). When the music starts again, children resume dancing. Ask children to follow along as you swish the scarf across the front of your body, make figure eights in the air, circle the scarf in front of your body like a Ferris wheel or circle it over your head like a helicopter blade.Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly. They love the element of surprise! Use all different types of music: fast, slow, classical, rock, salsa. When playing a slow song, suggest the children twirl, leap and float to the music. Scarf dancing promotes cross-lateral movements (crossing the midline) and develops body and space relationships, agility, flexibility, and listening skills.

Run Like the Wind Ages: 2 + years
On your mark, get set, get ready, GO! Have children run from one boundary to another with their scarf in hand or on their wrist. They will ask to do it again and again. Running, is a locomotor skill and a form of vigorous physical activity that increases the heart rate while improving fitness.

Musical Follow the Leader Ages: 2 + years 
Play “Follow the Leader.” Have children stand in a line, one person behind the other. When the music starts, the child at the head of the line does a movement with the scarf and all children will move their scarf in the same way as the leader (i.e., waving scarf overhead, swinging arms back and forth, jumping with the scarf, galloping with the scarf, etc.) When the music stops the child that was at the front of the line goes to the back and the next child in line becomes the leader. The music starts again and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to be the leader.

Shake to My Lou Ages: 2 + years
Use the scarf as you sing the following song and do the appropriate movements

Shake to My Lou (Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)Shake, shake, shake to my Lou, (Shake scarf in front of body)
Shake, shake, shake to my Lou,
Shake, shake, shake to my Lou,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake up high, shake down low, (Shake scarf overhead, then down by feet)
Shake up high, shake down low,
Shake up high, shake down low,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake to the right, shake to the left, (Shake scarf on one side of body and then the other)
Shake to the right, shake to the left,
Shake to the right, shake to the left,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake it out, shake it in, (Shake scarf with arms extended to the sides, bring arms together in front of body)
Shake it out, shake it in,
Shake it out, shake it in,
Shake to my Lou my darling.

Driving with Hoops!

I never tire of sharing games and activities using the very versatile Activity Hoop. In a blog I posted in May of 2010, I gave directions on how to play a non-competitive version of musical chairs using the hoop. This time, we’re going to use our imaginations as we pretend that our Activity Hoop is a steering wheel. Get ready to start your engines!


Car and Driver
Materials and Set Up:
One hoop per child
Available indoor or outdoor space

Let’s Get Started:
1. Children watch and listen as directions of how to play are demonstrated.
2. Each child, standing up, holds the hoop in front of their body. Tell them to imagine that the hoop is the steering wheel of a car and that they are the driver.
3. When children hear the following commands they are to do the corresponding movements as directed:
Green Light = GO (walk and turn hoop like driving)
Yellow Light = MOVE SLOWLY (getting ready to stop)
Red Light = STOP (freeze in place as if at a stop light or stop sign)
School Zone = SKIP
Highway = RUN
Uphill = MARCH
Flat Tire = HOP
Tunnel = DUCK DOWN (bend knees and lower level of body)
Pot Hole = LEAP
Woo-Woo-Woo = MOVE TO THE SIDE AND STOP (emergency vehicle coming)

Furthermore:
• With younger children only use 3 – 4 commands/movements.
• Vary the length of time between the commands.
• Try to “trick” children by repeating commands twice in a row.
• Children may devise other commands and movements.


On the Road Again
Materials and Set Up:
One hoop per child
Available indoor or outdoor space
Music player and music (i.e., Song: Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys or On the Road Again by Willie Nelson)

Let’s Get Started:
1. Instruct the children to put their hoop on the ground and stand inside it.
2. Tell them that the hoop is their steering wheel. When the music starts, they are to lift the hoop up to waist level and use both hands to turn it right and left as if driving while they walk around in the open space.
3. When the music stops, the children stop and drop their hoops to the ground as if they’ve reached a stop sign or stop light.
4. When the music starts again, they bend down and pick up their hoops and continue to drive.
5. Fun ensues when you start and stop the music for short intervals or keep it on for long stretches. Add some dialogue to the game by mentioning that they may be caught speeding if going to fast.
6. The game lasts the length of one song.

Furthermore:
Challenge children with this variation of the game. When the music stops ask the children to pair up. One partner steps inside the hoop and holds it at waist level. The second player steps in front of his partner in the hoop and holds his hoop in front of his body like a steering wheel. Children are to work together and move using both hoops when the music starts. When the music stops, they switch places and get to play opposite roles. This game teaches the children to work together and make cooperative decisions about moving in the same direction. Encourage the partners to come up with other ways to move together using both hoops.


Both of these hoop games promote and develop the following goals or learning outcomes:

• Locomotor transport skills: body moves from one place to another by walking, leaping, hopping, skipping, etc.
Gross motor development: using the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk to perform movements such as walking, running, marching
• Directionality: the inner sense and knowledge of where things are in relation to the body
Spatial awareness: coordinated movement in relationship to other objects in the environment
Bilateral coordination: using both sides of the body in unison
• Midline: the invisible line running from the head to the toes and dividing the body into right and left halves
• Crossing the midline: means that one hand spontaneously moves to the other side of the body to work there (i.e., turning the hoop like a steering wheel in a large arc)
Listening skills: ability to follow verbal directions
Cooperation: two or more people playing together rather than against one another, just or the fun of it
Agility: quick, easy, lively movements
• Imagery: formation of mental images by memory, imagination or fancy

Kids on Parade! Rhythm Stick Fun

Rhythm sticks or clave (klah-vey)—a Latin name for rhythm sticks—are indisputably one of the best first instruments for young children.

Rhythm sticks are members of the “percussion family” of instruments—which are musical instruments sounded by striking, shaking or scraping—and are tapped together to make a sound. Small percussion instruments are the most appropriate for children ages 2-7 and include the triangle, maracas, bells, tambourines, drums, cymbals and sand blocks.

Rhythm sticks are a natural extension of the sounds children make with their hands (clapping) and feet (stamping). Basic rhythmic concepts about beat, tempo and patterns are great for teaching to young children and can be experienced through a variety of fun activities, including playing rhythm sticks. When rhythm sticks are used in musical activities for young children, the process, rather than the product, is the important goal. Children thrive on the familiar; they enjoy the security of repetition and it’s an essential component for building basic skills and understanding.

It is important that rhythm sticks for the 2- and 3-year-olds be the appropriate size. Chunky Rhythm Sticks from Discount School Supply. are specifically made for little hands and fingers to easily grip and hold. This set includes 24 sticks or enough for 12 children with one for each hand.

Rhythm Stick Play: Objectives/Learning Outcomes
Playing and using rhythm sticks promotes and develops the following:

  • Small motor development—using the small muscles of the hands and fingers
  • Eye-hand coordination—eyes and hands working together smoothly
  • Dexterity—skill and ease in using hands
  • Eye tracking—eyes being able to follow an object as the object moves in space
  • Directionality—the inner sense and knowledge of where things are in relation to the body
  • Auditory discrimination—being able to hear and identify differences in sounds
  • Listening skills—ability to follow verbal directions
  • Coordination—parts of the body moving smoothly together
  • Rhythm—aspects of music having to do with time; patterns of sound perceived in relationship to a recurring beat
  • Beat—recurrent throb or pulse in music; important rhythmic skill to develop before the age of seven as the ability to keep a steady beat is linked to linguistic development
  • Tempo—the speed of music
  • Thinking processes—creative thinking and problem solving; develops memory (pattern and sequence)
  • Crossing the midline—occurs when left or right arms or legs cross over the center of one’s body and promotes communication between the brain hemispheres

Rhythm Stick Play: Rules
It is helpful to establish rules that will make the playing experience a happy and enjoyable one for both adults and children. As the teacher or leader of the activity, do not pass out the rhythm sticks until you have made clear what your expectations are regarding use of the rhythm sticks. The teacher or leader should demonstrate the activity first. If a child does not use his or her sticks properly or safely, an appropriate consequence might be to take them away for a short period of time, allowing that child to observe and rejoin when he/she feels able to follow the rules.
The following are some suggested rules and ideas for classroom and home activities using rhythm sticks:
1. Children sit cross-legged in a scattered or circle formation, ensuring that each child has his or her own personal space.
2. An adult or class helper is the keeper of the bin of sticks and walks around the group to allow each child to pick two sticks.
3. Rhythm sticks are passed out and children lay them on the ground in front of them and put their hands in their lap.
4. Upon teacher or leader instructions, or when the music starts, children can pick up their sticks and follow your lead.
5. When the music stops or the teacher says “freeze” and all activity ceases. If children are sitting, the sticks go back on the ground and hands go in their laps.
6. For organized clean up, an adult or class helper brings the bin around and instructs the children to put the rhythm sticks in the bin.

Rhythm Stick Play: Activity Idea
Pass out the rhythm sticks—, have children practice following a leader as they keep time to the music. Ask the children to stand up and get ready to march (a precise type of walk, accompanied by lifted knees and swinging arms) in the rhythm stick band! The teacher or a child can be the leader of the parade who marches in front, setting the direction and pace of the parade. Select a musical selection with a short, regular beat for a melodic and rhythmic background to accompany the sticks.